Though the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season has not yet come to an end, an early exit from the 2023 NBA Playoffs is now seeming like a distinct possibility.
The Cavs lost a pivotal Game 4 to the New York Knicks on Sunday and are now looking at a 3-1 deficit in the series.
For that reason, some are already looking ahead to the offseason for the Cavs, and it looks like there is a belief that the team could target 3-and-D wings this summer.
“While many rival executives around the league are convinced [Mikal] Bridges isn’t going anywhere, there’s a belief the Nets could break up their surplus of wing depth and trade either [Dorian] Finney-Smith or [Royce] O’Neale,” Michael Scotto of HoopsHype wrote. “Various teams around the league, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, are expected to pursue potential 3-and-D wings this summer.”
The Cavs could definitely benefit from some added depth at the wing position, and it makes perfect sense that there is an expectation for that spot to be a target this summer.
After all, the starting small forward position has been the only spot in the starting unit for the team that hasn’t really been settled. Of course, the backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland is set in stone, so is the big man duo of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
When it comes to the players mentioned in the report, Finney-Smith and O’Neale would be interesting options.
Finney-Smith is a 6-foot-7 forward who averaged 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season. He hit 39.1 percent of his field goals and 33.7 percent of his 3-pointers.
As for O’Neale, he had fairly similar numbers, putting up 8.8 points and 5.1 boards per game on 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 38.9 percent shooting from deep.
The Cavs could end up pursuing other available players this summer, and there are projected to be a lot of wings to choose from. Wing players who could hit the open market include Josh Hart, Harrison Barnes, Cameron Johnson, Khris Middleton and many more.
If the Cavs could add a proven player at that spot, they’d be an even stronger team heading into the 2023-24 season.
Without a doubt, the playoffs have not gone as Cavs fans had hoped thus far. While they’re not out of it just yet, the road to the second round is going a very long and hard one.
If the Cavs do end up getting bounced in the first round, the front office will surely spend the entire offseason looking for ways to ensure a deeper playoff run next spring. Adding a proven 3-and-D wing could definitely be part of that strategy.